Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

How did early laser printers get by with so little memory?

The first HP Laserjet only had 128K of memory. To print an area of 7.5 by 10 inches at 300 DPI requires 844K if it's kept as a single bitmapped image. Obviously they were doing something clever to ...

memory printer  
asked by Mark Ransom 39 votes
answered by Raffzahn 41 votes

Why was IBM's Scientific Subroutine Package superseded?

It is a familiar fact that scientific software tends to do a lot of vector arithmetic and similar, that one does not want to keep rewriting the low-level code for such, so the usual practice is to use ...

history software ibm mainframe  
asked by rwallace 25 votes
answered by alephzero 39 votes

How did the "Programmer's Switch" work on early Macintosh Computers?

The early Apple Macintosh computers (original Mac, Mac 512K, Mac Plus) all came with a "Programmer's Switch" installed on the side. I believe this persisted for a long time, with the switch ...

hardware programming apple-macintosh debugging  
asked by Brian H 24 votes
answered by Raffzahn 33 votes

What accounted for the cost of ENIAC?

I'm used to the fact that first-generation computers were very expensive, which I had always assumed was because they contained large numbers of vacuum tubes, each of which is a rather complex, high ...

history hardware mainframe cost eniac  
asked by rwallace 21 votes
answered by Oscar Smith 19 votes

Z80 to x86 asm translator?

8086 is source code compatible with 8080. Zilog Z80 extended Intel 8080 with: An enhanced instruction set including bit manipulation, block move, block I/O, and byte search instructions New IX and IY ...

assembly z80 8080 8086 8085  
asked by Schezuk 17 votes
answered by Will Hartung 18 votes

Uninstalling OS/400 by deleting one program

This is about the AS/400 which is an IBM mini-computer launched in 1988. It lives on today after several name changes and considerable hardware and software changes. It is still often informally ...

ibm as400  
asked by badjohn 13 votes

When did they stop verifying everything that went into a computer?

In an IBM service bureau in the early 1960’s all data was keyed twice. The first time the holes were punched into cards. The 2nd time a verifier checked that the correct holes had been punched. ...

asked by Natalie 13 votes
answered by JeremyP 29 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

How was it back then in 1984, when the Apple II had color, and the new Macintosh didn't?

I imagine it being a huge downgrade for some, not to have color on the Macintosh. Macintosh games were black and white in the beginning, while Apple II had color. I'm especially interested in ...

apple-ii apple-macintosh apple color-display  
asked by Johannes Bittner 46 votes
answered by John Dallman 94 votes

Why are punch card readers no longer in use?

When you think about it, punch cards are the safest way to backup data for long term storage. They are not influenced by magnetic fields and their data (the holes) don't fade over time. They are also ...

backup punched-cards  
asked by Danny Schoemann 37 votes
answered by Ken Gober 65 votes

Is this a real system? Which one?

I was playing Remedy Entertainment's video game Control the other day. Inside the game world, I've come across several computers. (They all look extremely similar.) To me, it looks like some kind of ...

gaming identify-this-computer dec  
asked by MathematicalOrchid 29 votes
answered by Raffzahn 42 votes

Why did moving the mouse cursor cause Windows 95 to run more quickly?

I was playing Hypnospace Outlaw, a game about a retro-themed OS. This OS has a peculiar behavior that when loading a webpage, wiggling the mouse cursor will load the page faster. That reminded me of ...

windows-98 windows-95 mouse  
asked by user2652379 414 votes
answered by user 476 votes

Why did IBM make the PC BIOS source code public?

IBM released the IBM 5150 Technical Reference manual in August, 1981, and included in it the fully commented source code listing for the BIOS. I find this odd for two reasons: IBM must have realized ...

history ibm-pc bios  
asked by Brian H 70 votes
answered by cjs 102 votes

What is the context of the button "Is MS DOS a feminist?"

I just saw this button in the Computer History Museum, and I'm wondering what is the context? Context removed, "Is MS DOS a feminist?" is about the most non-sequitur thing I've seen.

asked by Evan Carroll 47 votes
answered by Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩 94 votes

Why didn't SNES Doom use mode 7?

Doom was ported to the Super Nintendo using a Super FX 2 chip on the cartridge. It has most of the features of the full game, though with a few omissions, such as absence of sound propagation, ...

nintendo snes game  
asked by rwallace 19 votes
answered by Tommy 32 votes

Can you answer these questions?

Did Tomb Raider on Saturn have fewer save crystals than the PlayStation port?

I've been trying to find this out for ages. Having owned the Saturn version (which was the original release, BTW) when it was new, but also playing the PlayStation version at a cousin's house, I could'...

sony-playstation game ports  
asked by Britzius 2 votes
answered by Mark Williams 0 votes

Why does the JSR operation not jump?

I am building a computer based on the 65C02, and when stepping through the code, I see strange things happening. This is my code: SEI CLD LDX #$ff TXS JSR someRoutine ... This translates to this ...

assembly 6502  
asked by Bart Friederichs 3 votes
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